Chain letter

Kathleen Hale tagged me in this chain letter thing and I love Kathleen’s writing and can’t wait to read No One Else Can Have You so I did it.  

  • What am I currently working on?

Today is my one full day at home between trips so I am trying to do a lot of baseline life maintenance stuff, like laundry and cleaning and moving files around on my computer and trying to get health insurance. In order to try and sell the film/TV rights to Friendship I’m supposed to put together a little proposal about how I would like the putative TV show to be, which would probably take 30 minutes if I could just make myself sit down and do it.  I am still trying to be ambitious about my recently published book even though most people are on vacation. It’s hard to stay enthusiastic about promoting your book, even if you like your book and some other people do too. There’s a sense that nothing you do will ever be enough and that there’s something crucial you’re forgetting at all times. I’m also meeting with Ruth about Emily Books's August, September and November titles later in the day. I was going to also try to get my armpits waxed but now that seems like a foolish dream. 

Oh, you mean like “have I started another novel yet?” Lol. 

  • How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Limiting books by enforcing strictly defined “genres” and having books compete with other books in that “genre” is silly and  book marketing is flawed in general. But instead of going into that here I will limit myself to pointing out that in his recent episode of KCRW’s Bookworm podcast, Edward St. Aubyn said the word “genre” and it gave me goosebumps. He said it like this: “sshhhanrrrr(whisper of “uh”).” I can’t even express how well he said it. I would like a .wav file of Edward St. Aubyn saying genre as a ringtone or something to fall asleep to at night.

  • Why do I write what I write?

I can’t write anything else. If I could write GRRM-style epics that take place in an Otherworld I would totally be doing that, trust. 

  • How does my writing process work?

I don’t write anything for a long time and I feel guilty and bad. Then I write some. Then (repeat). 

I like to write in a library because just having a lot of other books around is inspiring. I also like to have deadlines for a lot of other things and to feel a certain amount of financial pressure. Well, I don’t “like” it but I seem to need it. Ugh, will someone switch brains with me?

That was fun! I miss my therapist. The next person I’m tagging for this thing is Jami Attenberg. Jami, I hope you don’t mind! 

 

Tonight at McNally Jackson, one of my all-time favorite writers Elif Batuman and I will have a conversation about my new novel Friendship and I’ll read a chapter from the book for the first time. This is a moment I could not have imagined when I started the book several years ago and would sometimes have panic attacks in McNally Jackson because all the great books on its shelves seemed like they represented something I could never hope to accomplish.  Four years, lots of credit card debt, 1.5 jobs and many temp assignments, two apartments, one cat and many, many cups of coffee etc later, I will be having a panic attack in McNally for a much more pleasant reason.If you’re in NYC, I hope you’ll join me.If you’re not in NYC and you are still interested in reading the book, I have a few suggestions about where to buy it, which is something people ask me about a lot! If you’ve been following me for a while you know that Emily Books and I have strong feelings about using your book dollars to directly support people who publish and sell books in a sustainable way. HOWEVS, the important thing is that you buy books. So here is my official suggestion, and this goes for every new book, not just mine:1. Request the book at your local independent bookstore if you don’t find it on their shelves. 2. Order it online from Powell’s. If you order $50 worth of stuff you get free shipping. Two hardcovers is all it takes! Oof, I know, but.3. Put it on hold or request it at a public library. (!) Libraries buy books if people ask them to.4. You know, Amazon. I’m not judging you. This time. (While you’re there, check out the lol reviews from some very fun and talented-seeming men). If you’re in D.C. or Portland I will see you there on August 4th and August 12, respectively.  Otherwise, see you on the Internet.

Tonight at McNally Jackson, one of my all-time favorite writers Elif Batuman and I will have a conversation about my new novel Friendship and I’ll read a chapter from the book for the first time. This is a moment I could not have imagined when I started the book several years ago and would sometimes have panic attacks in McNally Jackson because all the great books on its shelves seemed like they represented something I could never hope to accomplish.  Four years, lots of credit card debt, 1.5 jobs and many temp assignments, two apartments, one cat and many, many cups of coffee etc later, I will be having a panic attack in McNally for a much more pleasant reason.

If you’re in NYC, I hope you’ll join me.

If you’re not in NYC and you are still interested in reading the book, I have a few suggestions about where to buy it, which is something people ask me about a lot! If you’ve been following me for a while you know that Emily Books and I have strong feelings about using your book dollars to directly support people who publish and sell books in a sustainable way. HOWEVS, the important thing is that you buy books. So here is my official suggestion, and this goes for every new book, not just mine:

1. Request the book at your local independent bookstore if you don’t find it on their shelves. 
2. Order it online from Powell’s. If you order $50 worth of stuff you get free shipping. Two hardcovers is all it takes! Oof, I know, but.
3. Put it on hold or request it at a public library. (!) Libraries buy books if people ask them to.
4. You know, Amazon. I’m not judging you. This time. (While you’re there, check out the lol reviews from some very fun and talented-seeming men). 

If you’re in D.C. or Portland I will see you there on August 4th and August 12, respectively.  Otherwise, see you on the Internet.

This is a photo of the first time I met Meghan Daum! The second time will be tonight and no one will be styling us like fierce vampires, un/fortunately. 
I feel like I’m in some ways less and in some other ways more of an idiot than I was in the joint interview that accompanied this photo, and in the book that prompted it.  I wonder if Meghan feels the same way about the essay collection she published near the end of her 20s?  Tonight, I will ask her that, live onstage.
Come!!

This is a photo of the first time I met Meghan Daum! The second time will be tonight and no one will be styling us like fierce vampires, un/fortunately. 

I feel like I’m in some ways less and in some other ways more of an idiot than I was in the joint interview that accompanied this photo, and in the book that prompted it.  I wonder if Meghan feels the same way about the essay collection she published near the end of her 20s?  Tonight, I will ask her that, live onstage.

Come!!

"Free-floating ambition is toxic because it means that anyone who has accomplished anything in any realm of human endeavor is the enemy because she might be your competition. So you hate everyone a little bit, but behind this wall of hatred you still feel vulnerable. And you are vulnerable, but not because of the competition. You’re vulnerable because if anyone points you in anything that seems like a direction, that’s where you’ll go."
— And The Heart Says Whatever  

(I was going to ask Maris to do this but that seemed too weird.  This is also weird but I HAD TO DO IT)

"Free-floating ambition is toxic because it means that anyone who has accomplished anything in any realm of human endeavor is the enemy because she might be your competition. So you hate everyone a little bit, but behind this wall of hatred you still feel vulnerable. And you are vulnerable, but not because of the competition. You’re vulnerable because if anyone points you in anything that seems like a direction, that’s where you’ll go."

And The Heart Says Whatever  


(I was going to ask Maris to do this but that seemed too weird.  This is also weird but I HAD TO DO IT)

"Texting!  Sexting!" I learned a lot from my last interview with Jim Zirin, host of "The Digital Age," and this time I didn’t let him get away with anything!  Also I didn’t espouse any — or many — weird sour-grapesy conspiracy theories about my enemies.   If you have half an hour to spare I would recommend you watch, if only to find out the definitive answer to the question "Is the internet bringing us closer together?"